The Cateye Rapid X is a new addition to Cayteye’s 2014 range of rear lighting solutions. I’ve decided to review it here as it offers a very useful solution for an extremely robust and bright rear light that also has the ability to fit effortlessly to a triathlon or TT Bike (including those with aero seat tubes). It, therefore, provides a really useful option for top quality lighting to anyone wishing to continue use of their triathlon bike through the darker winter months.
Unboxing is pretty straightforward but what really struck me was the simplicity of the components and also how light it was. At 24g it will barely add any weight to your to precious set up. It’s also remarkable that (as with many of Cateye’s products) it can be mounted straight from the box without any tools whatsoever. Essentially, you choose the appropriate o-ring (there’s two included) and stretch to fit either a seat stay or seat post by securing to the semi-circle lugs at each side of the unit. I used the larger of the two rings to create a tight fit on my aero tube which then coped perfectly with a wide variety of road surfaces and bumps on the Oxfordshire/Warwickshire borders.
It’s an LED design that somehow gives the appearance of a continuous strip rather than a row of individual lights (which it the most common look on comparable lights). I’m not quite sure how Cateye have achieved this with such a compact device but it does give off an extremely visible and unbroken line which would be impossible for approaching motorists to miss. It’s also impressive how the effect is carried through the various angles remaining visible from both sides of the bike. It’s certainly safe.
Cateye have introduced some new light patterns with the Rapid X with this particular unit benefitting from six in total. These include, high, low, flashing, rapid, & pulse. Basically, the six options range from constant (i.e ‘on’) through to a very fast flash. The mode I particularly liked was ‘pulse’ which achieves a sort of half-way house between flash and constant and is also designed to save on power. Speaking of power, one of the downsides is on constant (or high) the battery will only last for one hour. It will, however, last up to 30 hours flashing and can range between about 5 and 16 hours in the remaining 4 modes. There is also a clever auto-save mode where the Rapid X will automatically change to flashing mode as the battery becomes low. This is an important feature and one which should see you arrive safely at your destination without the lights dying completely.
Recharging is by way of a micro USB cable. Given the relatively high price for a rear light this is a welcome feature and one which should help off-set costs as you won’t have the periodic outlay on AAA batteries.
The battery is located in the closed red unit which is then separated from the bike by a rubber mount. The mount can be peeled back (when off the bike) to reveal the charging connector via USB.
A long press on the side button brings the light to life. The same action will turn it off whilst a shorter hold is used to move sequentially through the 6 lighting modes.
The model that I’ve reviewed here is the 25 Lumen model which retails for £34.99. There is also a 15 Lumen version.
Although the Rapid X is at the higher end of the price range it does present a very effective and convenient mounting system for anybody wanting to continue riding their TT/aero bike into the winter (it will fit any standard bike too). In fact, it couldn’t be easier to switch this unit between bikes (without tools) should you simply wish to retain the option of prizing the TT bike from the relative safety of the turbo trainer. On top of that, brightness is almost unparalleled for this size of light.
I would like to give special thanks to my local bike shop, Broadribb Cycles, for recommending this product to me. For those local to Oxfordshire & Warwickshire you can head into the showroom or order online here.